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For some, the question on engine (V8 or V10) and transmission (6MT, R, or S) choice approaches the realm of "religious." Combine them both and you're now really asking an impossible question. But, I'd start by saying that, despite the emphatic responses you may get (or read in other threads), there are no bad choices here... just personal choices.Sorry for in advance as this probably has been asked about before! I currently put a deposit down on a 2008 v8 6pd with 8k miles for 85k. Honestly this seems like the most well rounded option for me with low miles, v8 reliability, and obviously the gated manual. As im getting closer to 90k im also now considering the v10 auto as there are some in the same price range with under 25k miles and a few years newer. The v10 and newer years seem to be wider, is this true? Anyone here with the v8 manual regretted not getting the v10? Does the manual gated experience get jaded over time? Any regret or issues with the earlier years? Any input would be appreciated!
Rather than approach this as "right" and "wrong" choices, I'd suggest looking at it as a pro and con list, with the ultimate decision simply being a PERSONAL compromise - a decision you, and you alone, will need to live with. And with that said, the right place to start would be just doing some reading. More than a lot has been written about engine and transmission - too many threads, honestly, over the years. So you'll find a ton of input on both of these subjects with many-an-argument about the good, bad, and ugly about the choices you may face. Read as much of it as possible to start forming your opinions for your pro/con lists... but DO realize you're reading just a lot of second-hand opinions.
The next thing to do is go drive them. The more the better. Not all cars are equal, even if they're seemingly equipped the same. Your experience will inform you considerably more than anything you read. Do you need the extra power of the V10? Maybe not... maybe you prefer the burble of the V8. Or maybe the V10 howl intoxicates you, and you can't see living without it. Do you like the rawness of the R-Tronic shifts? Or do you find them annoying? Do you get your pleasure from the click-clack shifts of the gated manual? Or do you enjoy the modern paddle-shifting?
Not to complicate things further, but aesthetics will be different among different R8s. Options weren't extensive, but those options that DID exist could really change the feel of the car. As you see them in person and get a feel for things like carbon trim, full leather, B&O, carbon engine bay trim, blades, etc., you'll start to form opinions on what matters there, too. Going for a V10 is going to give you more of these features standard and more commonly optioned - while less was standard on the V8, and many of the more expensive options were more rarely spec'd on the V8. Beyond the options - do you like the cleaner, more original looks of the V8 (flush sideblade, non-flared rocker panels, etc.), or do you like the more aggressive looks of the V10?
Again, I'll stress that there aren't right and wrong answers here. Personally, I can find reasons to own each variant. It won't matter what some faceless people on a forum think is best - it'll only matter what YOU enjoy when you open the garage and go for a drive!
To answer a few of your questions - I believe the width of the car (~76") remained consistent from V8 to V10, but certainly tire width changed (wider on the V10). You also do need to be careful with 2010 and earlier cars - these years are vulnerable to frame cracking near the front bulkhead. It's not common, and it shouldn't scare you off from these cars, BUT it's important to have this checked during a PPI, which means removing the front trunk tub. Failure to find this can cause you a very big headache afterwards. Aside from that, there are some small differences among very early cars (such as red center info display on the '08 cars), some differences in audio connection options, and resolution of the navigation unit (lower on earlier cars). In the facelift years (2014/15), there were then a host of other changes that happened (e.g., new lights, leather coverage / options, new grille, exhaust style, etc.).
Good luck on your hunt!